If you come across negative attitudes to you as a disabled passenger, here are some things you can try to help manage stressful travel situations.
Some negative attitudes you might face
Most people will treat you with respect and as a fellow passenger. Others might just be concerned about whether you need help. They might ask questions about how you are or if you need help. This can be annoying, but it’s at least well-meaning.
talk about you based on the equipment you are using (such as a wheelchair or mobility scooter)
talk about your impairment or condition (for example if you are partially sighted and use a mobile phone while holding a cane)
not believe that you are disabled (if you have a non-visible impairment)
tut, sigh, swear or roll their eyes at you
Staff on public transport should be helpful and understanding. They might be rude or insensitive sometimes without meaning to be. You can challenge this or you can choose to ignore it.
If someone is making you feel uncomfortable, you can choose to confront them, for example if they are saying abusive things. Depending on the situation, you may decide that the best thing is to ignore it.
You have the right to travel without being harassed. If people do not recognise this, you also have a right to stick up for yourself. If you feel comfortable and safe in doing so, talk to them.
Asking for help
Many people on public transport are likely to be kind and willing to help.
You can call the British Transport police on 999 or discreetly text them on 61016. Always call 999 in an emergency.
You are not responsible for how other people behave
Experiencing negative attitudes can be distressing. But it’s important not to let one bad experience put you off travelling.
You are not responsible for other people’s attitudes or behaviour. It reflects on them, not you.
Other ways to travel
You have the same right to travel as everyone else. As a last resort, you may decide that you’re more comfortable travelling a different way. For example, if people behave negatively towards you on trains, you might to choose to travel by bus or taxi instead. But it’s your choice.